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With great power comes great responsibility and with great ingredients generally comes a higher price tag.  With the introduction of The Bibo and Nicli, the old concept of pizza in Vancouver has changed.  Pizza is no longer the meal that you give to your friends after you move or watch a UFC fight.  30 dollars doesn't get you a large pizza with stuffed crust at these new pizzarias.  The gourmet pizza is here and there are more and more opening up in the neighbourhood.



Welcome Verace (meaning true, genuine or real) to Tinseltown/Gastown.  The location surprised me, as it wasn't on the developed side of Keefer but down in the cul-de-sac by TnT.  The interior wasn't impressive, it felt like what a tourist trap in Rome (or in Vancouver, for that matter) would look like.  It's not something that you would hate or feel dirty in, just nothing original.

We ordered a three pizzas for the group of three.  The Verace Margherita DOP (more on that certification just below), Funghi and Prosciutto e Rucola; all were about 18 dollars each.  

The pizza came out incredibly fast.  From the time it took to order to reaching our tables, less than 3 minutes.  The chef said it took 20 seconds to stretch the dough, and 60 seconds in the oven.   With a gas powered, brick stove set at 800 degrees F, it wouldn't take long to bake a thin crust pizza.

The crew agreed that the pizza was delicious.  The Napoletana pizza is intended to be eaten quickly as the longer it sits, the tougher the dough gets.  For this reason, I would order one pizza at a time so you can ensure you have the pizza at its best form.   The Funghi (mushroom) was our favourite and the prosciutto was fantastic, with almost a whole package of arugula on top.   

DOP Certification: Verace offers two types of Margherita pizza.  The DOP version was about 5 dollars more.
The San Marzano tomato is Italy's most famous plum tomato.   The tomatoes are grown in Campania, in the volcanic soil from Mount Vesuvious (maybe the bones from the citizens of Pompeii helped keep the soil rich with organic matter and give the tomatoes a nice taste) and harvested by hand. Naples, commonly known as the birthplace of pizza, is located in Campania.  The origin of these tomatoes is so important that they receive a EU certification, for which companies that qualify can boast using the DOP logo (Denominazione d' Origine Protetta) on their label.    The interesting part is there are companies calling themselves 'San Marzano' even though they don't sell tomatoes from the region, in an attempt to falsely brand their product.  

There are also tiers of certification.  The red logo is for product that is entirely manufactured in Campania and the blue logo, which is seen from time to time on some cans, is for product that is only partially manufactured in Campania.  The Italissima ones from Bosa boast the red DOP certification.

Napoletana Certification
There is also third party certification for Napoletana pizza makers.  The certification badge doesn't look official (like a KKK member holding a Japanese paddle) and I am not sure if it is widely accepted as the gold standard but they do list criteria for what they feel a Napoletana pizzeria should be.   One of the conditions that they do list - which Verace doesn't meet - is that the pizza should be made in a wood burning oven that reaches 900 degrees F (I am not sure if Vancouver will let a new restaurant have a wood burning oven).  Another condition is that the pizzeria uses a list of prescribed quality ingredients, and in this category Versace does meet the standard.  Then again, paying $2000 dollars for the certification doesn't seem worth it.

Verace Pizzeria
189 Keefer Place
Vancouver, BC



Verace Pizzeria on Urbanspoon
Matt


Above: San Marzano brand plum tomatoes (left) and Italissima San Marzano DOP Certified tomatoes (right)





Vince and I did a Breaking Bread Podcast here with G-Man.   Be on the look out for that.

1 comments

Max said... @ July 18, 2011 at 12:57 PM

Just a thing, Nicli's oven is run on 100% wood. We're trying to get VPN certification by the end of the summer.

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